The Democratic Alliance has sympathy for the frustration of nurses that led to yesterday’s march by the Democratic Nurses Organisation of SA (DENOSA) to Gauteng Premier David Makhura’s office.
They are right to be aggrieved by poor working conditions and short-staffing, which places unbearable strain on nurses who are the backbone of a decent health system.
It is inexcusable that there are unfilled nursing vacancies, and many newly-qualified nurses are unemployed after completing their community service.
DENOSA has also highlighted the late payments to suppliers which resulted in food and other shortages in hospitals.
And how can there still be nurses who are not being paid their salaries?
Despite projections of a huge future shortage of nurses, Gauteng is training too few nurses, and then fails to employ many of those who have qualified.
Premier Makhura promised eight years ago to “urgently” turn around the Gauteng Health Department with its non-stop scandals. It’s time he delivered!
983 nurses at Gauteng public hospitals who completed their community service at the end of last year have not been appointed as promised to permanent posts this year because of budget cuts.
This shocking information was disclosed today at a meeting of the Gauteng Legislature’s Health Committee.
According to a Gauteng Health Department official, the provincial budget was cut by R4 billion last year, and R1.2 billion in this year’s budget. He said that the Department is now engaging with Provincial Treasury to try and get the funds to employ the nurses.
I am appalled that these nurses are not being employed immediately as they are desperately needed to treat the surge of Covid-19 patients that are overwhelming our hospitals.
There is no excuse for this poor planning and irrational budget cut as community service nurses are supposed to be given posts once they complete their service.
Gauteng Premier David Makhura needs to intervene urgently to ensure that funds are found to employ these nurses.
More than 200 newly qualified nurses finishing their community service at Gauteng state hospitals face unemployment as they are not being absorbed into permanent posts as happened previously.
It costs more than R500 000 to train a professional nurse for four years and they then do one year of Community Service.
The Young Nurses Indaba has compiled a list of 16 out of 36 public hospitals in Gauteng where community service nurses have been told to find employment elsewhere. The largest number is at the Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Hospital where 62 nurses will be terminated at the end of February.
Other hospitals discharging large numbers of nurses include the following:
- Tambo Memorial Hospital – 20 nurses
- Rahima Moosa Hospital – 17 nurses
- Edenvale Hospital – 15 nurses
- Thelle Mogoerane – 15 nurses
- Bertha Gxowa – 14 nurses
- Yusuf Dadoo Hospital – 11 nurses
- South Rand Hospital – 10 nurses
- Jubilee Hospital – 10 nurses
- Tara H Moross Hospital – 8 nurses
- Tshwane District Hospital – 8 nurses
- Bheki Mlangeni Hospital – 7 nurses
- West Rand District – 7 nurses
- Kopanong Hospital – 5 nurses
- Cullinan Care Centre – 4 nurses
- Weskoppies Hospital – 3 nurses
A total of 216 nurses face unemployment if they cannot get jobs in the private health sector, as the Gauteng Health Department has advised them to do.
It makes no sense to spend huge amounts of money on training nurses, but not employing them even though there is a large shortage of nurses in public hospitals.
This shows yet again the failure of the Gauteng Health Department caused by poor management and widespread corruption.
Only the DA can bring change that builds One South Africa for All the ensures fair access to real, long-term jobs.
Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Academic Hospital
The Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Academic Hospital is short of 364 nurses, and has a total of 436 vacancies in all staff positions.
This information is revealed by Gauteng Health MEC Qedani Mahlangu in a written reply to my questions in the Gauteng Legislature.
The hospital currently employs 4716 people in the following categories:
Support staff 1065
Admin staff 520
Nursing staff 2201
Medical staff 625
Allied staff 305
The major shortage is in nursing, but other shortages are as follows:
Support staff 12
Admin staff 21
Medical staff 12
Allied staff 27
Loss of Skilled Staff
According to Mahlangu, the primary reason for the loss of skilled staff is due to “better remuneration in the private sector and the opportunity for self-employment.”
She says that “there has been no impact on patient care related to the loss of staff as vacant posts have been filled”.
I am concerned by the nursing shortage at the hospital which surely does affect the quality of patient care.
Many nurses are close to retirement age, so more training and recruitment is needed to fill the nursing posts at this major hospital.
DA Gauteng Shadow Health MEC
082 333 4222